2013 – March 22, 2013 Notes

North Quabbin Energy Planning Meeting  — Fri., March 22, 2013, 6:00 at MREC

People present: Linda Paquet, Aimee Hanson, Paul Goyetche, Pat Larson, Hal Gillam, Neil Anders, Tom Rich, Donna Caisse, Renee LaPointe, Steve and Janice Kurkoski

Some Notes from Discussion:  (See www.northquabbinenergy.org/wordpress a copy of notes)

Food BrochureWe discussed getting the updates for local farms to Linda in the next week or so.  Linda stated that we received $275 from local cultural councils including Warwick ($100), Orange ($100) and Athol ($75).  We need about $100 more to print 1000 copies at YES.  Linda will check with Cathy to see how much we have in NQE fund.  If we do not have enough money then we will figure how to get $100.

Reports from Town Energy Committees;

  • Petersham  — Linda reported that Petersham received a $12,000 technical assistance grant from the state DOER and $134,000 from Green Communities.  The $12,000 technical assistance grant  with be used to have Bales Energy (Greenfield) do a technical energy audit of town buildings.  Once they have the audit report, the energy committee will decide what to propose spending Green Communities grant money in the coming year.  Also on April 16, 2013 state officials will be at the Petersham Town Hall to make a presentation regarding the Green Communities award.
  • Royalston – Donna worked on applying for a $10,000 technical assistance grant from the state DOER, but Royalston did not get the grant to help them pay for their audit of town buildings.  Now Donna is trying to get money through the town building committee so they can get an audit done before applying for Green Communities.  They are hoping to have an energy audit of town buildings done by Bales Energy.  The town did pass an energy-efficient vehicles by-law, and the energy committee is asking to have the Stretch Code on the town warrant.  Montachussetts Regional Planning may help Royalston with other zoning updates for Green Communities application. They may place right of site area on capped landfill for generation of electricity. Donna feels that Royalston is making progress, and Neil stated that she could call him with questions.
  • WarwickJanice and Steve reported on the activities of the Warwick committee.  They are not working on a Green Communities application but have been doing a lot of work regarding energy expenses at the Warwick Community School.  Bales Energy completed an energy audit of the elementary school.  Now they are working to figure how to present all this to the Pioneer Regional School Committee so the school committee agrees to have the work done.  Warwick is hoping that by paying for work as a capital expense the town will get money back from the district because of the energy savings.  Janice pointed out that their committee wants to fix buildings and not spend a lot of time on the long process of involving the regional school committee.  Steve reported on the Massachusetts Clean Energy and Climate Plan for 2020 (www.mass.gov/eea/docs/eea/energy/2020-clean-energy-plan.pdf).  Steve pointed out that we should be building net zero buildings if we add more building to a town’s footprint so that we really are working toward cutting greenhouse gases by 25% by 2020.  Janice also pointed out that National Grid’s Deep Energy Retrofit applications for 2013 (https://www1.nationalgridus.com/DeepEnergyRetrofit-MA-RES) are now available.
  • Barre – The town is working on energy reductions for town buildings with their Green Communities grant money.  Neil reported that they hope the work done in the town library and town administrative buildings will reduce energy use by about 60%.  However the elementary school does not fall under the Green Communities work, and thus the proposed new roof for the elementary school may be only R-25 instead of the possible R-38.  The Barre Energy committee cannot do anything about this according to Neil.
  • OrangePat reported that members of the energy committee finished negotiating a PPA agreement with Borrego for a PV installation on the capped landfill.  Borrego will now go through the permitting process with DEP and work with National Grid.  The town committee also co-sponsored the showing of the film, “Growing Edge” at the end of February with the Orange and Athol libraries.  The committee also met with Ken Elstein from Hampshire COG to discuss municipal aggregation for electricity but decided not to pursue at this time.  As of now the committee is not working toward Green Communities but will meet with Brian Gale (Orange Building Inspector) on April 1 to discuss Stretch Code.  Pat and Deb Kent also met with the new facilities person for the elementary schools about ways to use less electricity and measure some appliances with a kil-o-watt meter. Pat also announced the need to sign petitions to support continuing area public transportation.
  • Athol – Aimee reported that the Athol Energy Committee has a full membership again and started meeting again.  Hal helped write the follow-up grant proposal for Green Communities for $170,000 to DOER with a request for an energy management system (EMS) to monitor energy use in several town buildings or a variable refrigerant flow (VRF) system for HVAC system in the new library.  Aimee also introduced Renee LaPointe from the Athol Agriculture Commission.   Both Aimee and Renee introduced an idea for exploring the writing of a USDA grant for a Farm to School program.  The idea would be to decide what needs to be changed in local schools regarding food served to students and also to build gardens at the schools with the goal of the schools becoming self-sustaining in terms of local produce.  There is the possibility of applying for a planning grant for $20-40,000 and then an implementation grant of $65,000 or more.  Renee presented this as a possible regional project dealing with local food in the schools.  The Athol Ag Commission has not made in decisions about going forward with a grant application yet.
  • Phillipston – Tom reported that the town energy committee is meeting again and has several new members.  Tom will check with Bill Rose to see what is happening
  • No reports from Wendell or New Salem

River Rat Parade – April 13, 2013

Aimee agreed to coordinate signs, banners and other materials for the parade.  She has signs and banner from last year.  She also has clothesline for people to carry with sign – Sun Dryer.  Other messages to include: Please Conserve Energy!  Save OUR Planet!  Aimee is making the Sun and will have signs like “No Idling.”  People who agreed to be in the parade include: Aimee and Colby, Donna, Paul, Hal, Pat, Judy and Bruce.  Some maybes for the day include: Neil, Linda, Janice and Steve.  We are hoping to have a dozen people carrying signs, riding bikes, walking with clothesline and banners, and giving out candy (tootsie rolls maybe – no throwing of candy).  We agreed to tell others so they can join us.  Line up will start at 8:30 along School St. in Athol.  Note: Aimee needs a couple of white sheets.  People can call Aimee at 978-434-1560.  NQE is already signed up for the parade. 

Solarize NQ Campaign (SolarCity)

Neil reported that doing a Solarize MA campaign as No. Quabbin Energy would not work on this round for several reasons.  Although 2-3 towns that border each other can apply together, we could not apply as North Quabbin.  Also Neil felt that the amount of work involved for what a group might get is a bit overwhelming.  Janice pointed out that Sally Pick in Montague led the town’s Solarize MA campaign where they got 42 households to sign up, but it was a lot of work.  Neil reported that he talked with people from SolarCity about an independent campaign that NQE could do as an organization.  This could be a way to raise money ($400 per system) and “brand” NQE if we could find a non-profit that it could flow through and get NQE people to go door-to-door and work to get 5-10 households per town.  There was no consensus about doing this type of independent Solarize Campaign.  We agreed to put it on the agenda for the next meeting and think about the following questions before the next meeting:

  • What type of campaign do we put forth, and how do we decide who to work with and select a solar company such as SolarCity?   How do we set up a selection process?
  • How many hours would I/you be willing to volunteer to contact people, go door-to-door, etc.?
  • Who is going to administer and run campaign?
  • Do enough of us think a “Solarize Campaign” is a good idea for all NQE towns to work on in the coming months?

Meeting adjourned at 9 p.m. with no set date for next meeting (will survey people).

Compiled by Pat Larson for NQE

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